What does Measure L do?
Measure L would create a transparent, citizen-driven redistricting process where neighborhoods and communities come first. Measure L takes the power of redistricting out of politicians’ hands and places it in an independent citizens commission which would draw new district boundaries based on requirements for fairness and representation, and informed by community input held at hearings across the city.
How would the Commission work?
Measure L would create a 13-member citizens redistricting commission, modeled off of the successful State Commission, with the power to redraw council district lines. The Commission would be composed of Sacramento voters, selected through an open application process designed to ensure a qualified, impartial, and diverse membership. The measure has strict eligibility criteria to prevent bias and ensure the Commission is independent of political control. For example, the family members, campaign staff, or major donors of elected officials may not serve on the Commission. Measure L also includes criteria for fair redistricting to keep neighborhoods and communities intact. Commission decisions must be made at public hearings, which would be held around the city to ensure strong community input.
What is redistricting?
The constitutional principle of “one person, one vote” requires cities to redraw their council district boundaries every ten years to ensure each district has substantially equal population. This line-drawing process is known as “redistricting.” While the state and some cities – like San Francisco, San Diego, and Oakland – empower a citizens’ commission to redraw district lines, in Sacramento, the city council currently draws its own district lines.
What’s wrong with redistricting in Sacramento?
It is a conflict of interest for the city council to draw its own district boundaries. Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. Incumbent politicians have a strong incentive to draw lines to guarantee their reelection or hurt their political opponents. Redistricting should be about ensuring fair and effective representation for all communities in Sacramento, not political games that divide our communities.
Here’s what the Sacramento Bee has said about past redistricting efforts:
“Sacramento's City Council districts are a mess. They split too many neighborhoods. There's far too big a gap in populations among the districts, making a mockery of the democratic ideal of one person, one vote. And, to suit politicians, they're contorted into ridiculous shapes.” (1/18/11)
The city council “proved again in 2011 they can’t be trusted, trashing maps suggested by a citizens advisory group and drawing their own behind closed doors.” (11/24/14)
The current districts were the result of “backroom dealing that produced skewed districts.” (4/11/16)